Erin, a former “Married at First Sight” reality TV star, is 28 years old and lives in Australia. This is how she’s Conquering with Keen Awareness in her own words.
The Vicious Cycle of Trichotillomania
I started pulling my hair out at age 15. I didn’t realise hair pulling was how I coped with anxiety until I was 28. That’s THIRTEEN years later!! My Trichotillomania affected me every day. Hair pulling was something damaging that I knew would make me unhappy, but I felt so much better when I did it. It was a very vicious cycle.
Eventually I pulled out so much hair I was unable to wear my hair down anymore. And not long after that my hair pulling became obvious even after my best attempts to hide my baldness. I was terribly unhappy and stressed all the time. My Trichotillomania consumed my thoughts on an hourly basis. Hair pulling was something I never, ever, thought I'd be able to stop.
A few years ago I participated in the reality TV show “Married at First Sight.” The show was a good distraction from my Trichotillomania. At the time I wasn't really in the best head space and still very much in the shame and denial phase of Trich. I remember being very wary of how my hair looked and at which angle the cameras were filming me to best hide the damage I had caused from hair pulling.
I went from telling no one about my Trichotillomania to telling a few friends, then my partner, then a couple more friends, and eventually I told my doctor and psychologist. The more I opened up the more comfortable I felt. But also, educating myself on Trich and finding support groups online also made me feel more “accepted.” I think the less honest you are with yourself the more it feeds the Trich monster.
There comes a point when you have to face it head first and thankfully I did eventually get to that point myself. In early 2018 I decided to shave my head for the World’s Greatest Shave, an Australian charity that raises money for the Leukemia Foundation. But, I also shaved my head because I wanted to bring awareness to Trichotillomania. I shared with my Instagram audience that I hoped it was “DAY 1 of my journey to overcome my 14 year struggle with Trichotillomania.” As I made my struggle public, I was connected to HabitAware and talked to them about Keen, their Trichotillomania awareness tracking bracelet.
Finding a Trichotillomania Treatment
I had been looking for a hair pulling solution for a long time. You name it - I’ve tried it. But nothing worked. I’m a member of a number of Facebook Trichotillomania support groups, so I had heard of HabitAware. Keen had been mentioned many times as a really good product for hair pulling and other Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRBs), like skin picking and nail biting. I decided to give it a try.
"I am so much more confident and in general a much happier person"
After wearing Keen, I’m happy to say I’m 3 months pull free! I’m someone with an 'addictive' personality, so I found that I needed something constant and reliable to hold me accountable for the habit I was trying to break. That’s why Keen worked for me - because it was a constant reminder every time I put my hand to my head. Of course, it takes a certain mental state, too - you have to really WANT to quit. My hair has grown back 99% and even looks like it may be thicker in some places! I'm on a great streak of taking control and feeling very optimistic! I am so much more confident and in general a much happier person. Thank you, HabitAware!